Confused by the concept of Mario and the Rabbids in a shared world? Us too, until we chatted to Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle game director Davide Soliani about where the idea came from.
How and when did the idea for the game come about?
Three years ago, the strong relationship we have with Nintendo gave us the opportunity to create a game featuring Mario, his friends, and our irreverent Rabbids. We used a shared vision to create a brand new experience.
Rabbids have their roots in video games. It is in their DNA to twist universes in playful, irreverent ways. So we thought what a surprise it would make to have them partner with Mario and his friends?
When the concept was presented to Mr. Miyamoto, he was instantaneously excited by the passion and the idea of merging these two contrasting universes. He knew it would lead to a surprising and unexpected experience for Mario fans.
Was it difficult to coordinate the two developers?
Ubisoft and Nintendo have a very strong relationship, and the creation of Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a great example of how we are able to work together to create something amazing. While the game was fully developed and produced by Ubisoft Paris, Ubisoft Milan and Ubisoft Montpellier, it was created with the approval and the trust of Nintendo to use the Mario IP and associate it with the Rabbids. As a team, we shared the same vision and goals and treated Mario and friends with a lot of respect and created a strong experience for players. That was our ultimate goal.
Were there ever any issues with the decision to give Mario a gun?
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is a game full of cartoon action. Our game is rated G; it is fully suitable for the whole family. Our weapons are a tool to support the combat and tactical gameplay. When we first presented them to Nintendo they were laughing, so we knew we had done a good job.
What kind of mechanical implementations did you include to make the turn-based genre accessible for newcomers?
Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle is designed for players of all ages, as all Mario games are. We created a streamlined user interface, keeping all the focus on the action itself, and let the design elements and animations provide feedback to the players. The turn-based system used in combat phases allows players to take time to think before triggering their actions; matching attacks, special techniques and super effects can result in chain reactions that can impact the action on the battlefield. This combat system offers new players the opportunity to discover the genre and pick up the game for themselves.
What kind of multiplayer elements can we expect?
In addition to the single player story campaign, we have created dedicated co-op challenges especially designed for a two-player local experience in which players team up with a friend in local multiplayer. They’ll play three levels of difficulty, taking on adversaries as a team of four heroes. Players can easily play at home in front of the TV with Joycons or the Pro-Pad, or on the go, by just sharing the Joycons between them.
Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle is out August 29.